Mexico’s Congress is usually meant to be a venue for solemn presentations on budgets and other serious legislation. But this week, lawmakers heard testimony from a self-proclaimed U.F.O. researcher who brought with him some unusual objects: two mummified specimens that he claimed were the bodies of extraterrestrial beings.
The presentation of the mummies on Tuesday by Jaime Maussan, a journalist who has speculated widely on aliens, caused jaws to drop and memes to multiply around the country. The two specimens, which Mr. Maussan said were found in Peru in 2017, were tiny in stature and chalky in color; each had three-fingered hands and what appeared to be shrunken or desiccated heads.
“These are nonhuman beings who are not part of our terrestrial evolution,” Mr. Maussan declared under oath, with a sign-language interpreter at his side.
The specimens, he added, had been buried at a remote site in Peru and were about 1,000 years old, according to carbon testing carried out by researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
The researchers, however, distanced themselves from Mr. Maussan’s conclusions and an independent expert dismissed the exhibition as “shameful.”
Mr. Maussan lives in Mexico and is well known for making such claims while dabbling in the realm of pseudoscience on television and on YouTube, as well as selling his own line of health supplements. His presentation cast attention on the growing fascination in Mexico with the possibility of extraterrestrial life, an outgrowth, some say, of efforts by American authorities to lift the veil on secrecy in government programs that have studied unexplained phenomena.
Mr. Maussan did not respond to requests for comment.
Others speaking before Mexico’s Congress included Ryan Graves, a former fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy who has described a close encounter with what looked like a flying sphere encasing a cube. Mr. Graves, who similarly testified this year in the U.S. Congress, told Mexican lawmakers that such encounters were “grossly underreported.”
In a statement after speaking to Mexico’s Congress, he criticized the event. “My testimony centered on sharing my experience,” he said on X, formerly Twitter. He added: “But I am deeply disappointed by this unsubstantiated stunt.”
Mr. Maussan was invited by a lawmaker, Sergio Gutiérrez Luna, who said he was interested in hearing different perspectives on a topic of wide interest.
“What we did here was an exercise in listening,” Mr. Luna, who belongs to the governing Morena party, told reporters after the presentation. “Learning about subjects, whatever they may be, is done by finding contrasting opinions.”
Still, Mr. Maussan’s presentation stunned many in scientific circles in Mexico. After images of the mummies began circulating, the Institute of Physics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico released a statement making it clear that its researchers had never examined the specimens themselves but had merely done carbon testing in 2017 on skin samples provided by a client.
The university lab which did the testing “disassociates itself from any use, interpretation, or subsequent misrepresentation of the results it provides,” the institute said. “In no case do we draw conclusions about the origin of these samples.”
Similarly, Antígona Segura, one of Mexico’s top astrobiologists, questioned Mr. Maussan’s contentions. “These conclusions are simply not backed up by evidence,” said Dr. Segura, who collaborates with the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science, a NASA initiative to search for life on distant worlds. “The whole thing is very shameful.”
It was unclear how Mr. Maussan got the mummified specimens to Mexico from Peru, whether they are actually from Peru, or if his specimens are reproductions or different from other mummified remains previously said to be extraterrestrial, which are still in Peru.
But Peruvian news reports have suggested that Mr. Maussan got wind of some mummies in 2017 from a Peruvian tomb raider. Analysis of the specimens in question in Peru showed that they were manufactured using a combination of human and animal bones, vegetable fibers and synthetic adhesives.
Another analysis in 2021 determined that the head of one of the specimens was a deteriorated llama braincase. While debunking the contention that the mummies were extraterrestrials, the researchers expressed wonder as to how the specimens were made centuries ago, appearing to be “constructions of very high quality.”
Elda Cantú and Emiliano Rodríguez Mega contributed reporting.
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